While the hockey world discusses what parts they’d like to pick from the carcass of the Calgary Flames, we’ll keep rolling along with our draft profiles. Today we’ll cover a good Canadian defender.
Also, the correct answer is Chris Tanev and Mikael Backlund to play top pair and 3C respectively.
NHL Comparable: Mike Green or P.K. Subban
Dragicevic is your prototypical offensive defender. His skating is terrific, his shot is strong, his playmaking and ability to read the play in the offensive zone is likely the best among defenders in this years draft, but his defense leaves question marks.
With a large frame and a willingness to battle in the dirty areas of the ice, the real question is how long it will take to reach the NHL and how much better can he get defensively before he does so? He has project written all over him, but that is also paired with mountains of potential. If Dragicevic can choose when to join the rush more appropriately, instead of jumping into the play almostevery time, it will do wonders for his career. He’s too often caught deep in the offensive zone, leaving his partner to defend odd-man rushes and costing his team, but he also produced 15 goals and 75pts in just 68 games in his draft year, numbers that often improve year over year.
All of this makes a lot of sense when you find out that Dragicevic has only been playing defense for the past few years. By all accounts, he has taken to the position well and has improved a lot, but it also makes you wonder how much further he could go defensively in the right organization. Much like the Leafs did with Timothy Liljegren, if they could give Dragicevic the time and direction needed to be good (not even great) defensively in the NHL, they could have an absolute steal of a late 1st round selection.